Disc golfers working for course in Eureka

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

EUREKA SPRINGS -- Disc golf enthusiast, Paul Rist, again discussed his idea of setting up a disc course near the entrance of Lake Leatherwood City Park at last week's Parks Commission meeting. Rist has gathered almost enough sponsorships to fund the startup, which he said would be about $7,500.

He said he has commitments from at least 15 disc golfers who would volunteer to clear underbrush from an area near the ballfield parking lots.

Rist said the closest course to Eureka Springs is in Fayetteville, and he knows of 30 disc golfers who would play more often if there was a closer course. He also noted that disc golf is steadily growing in northwest Arkansas, and 3,700 golfers have participated in tournaments in the state.

"It's a guarantee that folks would come to Eureka Springs just for disc golf," he said.

His plan calls for a tee box area to be cleared and an enclosed gravel area installed. At some distance from the tee box a chain basket would hang on a short pole, which is the hole.

Rist said that a sign would be posted at the tee box with course information, in addition to the name and contact information of a local sponsor. Signs would be no larger than necessary and as natural looking as possible.

Commissioner Steven Foster said the agreement with Rist should include a de-commissioning plan in the event Rist and his fellow golfers move away. Commissioner Daniel Jackson asked director Bruce Levine to come up with rules for the project, then he moved to approve the first phase to remove underbrush and further define the course area. The vote was 5-0 to approve.

Featherstone said commissioners learned much from a recent town meeting, and needed to schedule one on the Basin Park project. Commissioners decided to hold the meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. at Inn of the Ozarks.

Foster said a steadfast group of volunteers has done much work recently on trails. They still need to develop accurate maps and more trail signs, with the goal to link trails together. Commissioner Draxie Rogers said tourists have asked her about hiking and biking trails in the area, and Foster added that trails are a good way to get around town.

Featherstone said parks needs volunteers to work on trail creation and maintenance.

Foster said the recent collapse near Grotto Spring is a warning of what can happen near any spring or aquifer. He said the Springs Committee is beginning its planning for a celebration of the springs on June 9, 2012, and they are preparing a State of the Springs report.

Levine said Parks is collaborating with the Eureka Springs Downtown Network, Public Works and the CAPC to get the town decorated for the holiday season. He said there is now a tree for Basin Park which does not require heavy machinery from Public Works to install. The tree formerly in Basin Park will be at the top of Planer Hill in the transit area.

Lake Leatherwood City Park will gross more than $60,000 this year, a steady improvement over previous years. Levine said he will check with other parks in the state to make sure fees are in line.

Next regular meeting will be Monday, Dec. 19, at 6 p.m.

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